Senate condemns rising rape cases, tasks judges on stiffer penalties

Senate asks FG to conduct Fresh Census in 2018

The Senate has asked the judiciary to review the existing law on sexual offences, including rape and domestic violence.

The Senate is worried over the poor prosecution of sexual offence cases and low conviction of suspects in courts.

The resolution followed a motion by the Deputy Senate leader, Ibn Bala Na’Allah, who expressed concern over the rising cases of sexual violence, particularly the raping of minors and children below the age of consent.

In the motion, Na’Allah said, “The Senate notes the frightening increase in cases of sexual violence, notably rape, where more than half of the victims are minors, children below the age of consent.

“The Senate further notes that in most of these cases, the perpetrators are usually familiar neighbours, employers of labour and close family members; and it is concerned that the activities of these sexual predators constitute a serious security threat to the larger segment of our society and are severely underreported.”

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, asked women who were victims of sexual violence to speak out and report to law enforcement agencies.

He also said, there is the need to redefine the law, to determine what constitutes rape.

The lawmakers also “urge all heads of courts to revisit the sentencing policy on all sexual offences and domestic violence to address the seriousness it deserves.”

The Red Chamber further urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and other security agencies to establish functional help desks to provide increased support for victims.

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